- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

The construction of a memorial to honor millions of people killed by communist regimes will begin this week, after years of fundraising difficulties and downsized plans.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Wednesday morning at the memorial’s site near the U.S. Capitol, said officials for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which led the memorial campaign.

The memorial is a 10-foot bronze replica of the Democracy statue created by student activists in China, then destroyed by the communist government’s tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“Washington is the perfect city because it’s full of great monuments and memorials,” said Lee Edwards, foundation chairman. “We’re proud that our memorial will join the list. We’ve been working toward this for more than 10 years.”

The statue, modeled after the Statue of Liberty, will have an inscription on the front pedestal that will read: “To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty.”

The back pedestal will read: “To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples.”

Founded in 1994, the foundation honors the estimated 100 million people killed by communist regimes.

The organization announced in July that it met its fundraising goal for the projected $900,000 memorial, which was authorized under a bill passed with bipartisan congressional support and signed into law by President Clinton in 1993.

The project was conceived as a $100 million bricks-and-mortar structure, similar to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

But various issues, including fundraising problems, forced organizers in 2003 to scale back the project to a memorial near the Capitol.

The groundbreaking will take place at G Street Northwest near the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues, with a reception to follow at the Capitol.

The dedication of the memorial is scheduled for June to coincide with the 20th anniversary of President Reagan’s famed speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

The foundation also has begun creating a Global Virtual Museum that will serve as a link to institutions in such places as Berlin, Hungary and Poland.

Once the virtual museum is at full speed, the foundation again will focus on raising money to build the bricks-and-mortar museum, Mr. Edwards said.

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